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Pay a Coach or Therapist by the RESULT?

What if life coaches and therapists only got paid by the RESULT?

For example, if you agree that you got a significant AHA moment during a session, then you pay. If not, then you walk away without forking over any of your hard-earned money. Hmm.

As a coach, I think could be up for that challenge. My offer would be: pay my fee only if you agree that you’re truly thinking differently (and more productively) after talking to me. After all, I don’t want to coach people that I can’t help. Either you get insights that never occurred to you before, or you keep your money.

This raises all KINDS of questions about coaching, doesn’t it?

Coaching and therapy has always been conducted under the assumption that the practitioner’s time is inherently valuable. That time is valuable to the practitioner. However, what if the client doesn’t benefit? Now, he or she is paying for something that is useless.

Of course, many clients don’t really get the real value of coaching or therapy until several sessions into the process. Is that a deal-breaker for this model? Maybe.

Therapists and coaches would have to be super clear about what they offer. And they’d have to be highly skilled and confident that they could deliver. They’d probably have to screen clients to ensure, as much as possible, that they only see people they can actually help.

Of course, offering a pay model such as this could work against the client.

Would clients suddenly be resistant to change and less open to the process if they knew that progress equals payment? Would manipulative people actually benefit, but insist that the session had no value, so that they don’t have to cough up the dough?

Or, maybe practitioners could offer this type of pay-by-the-result session as an introductory session only. If the client is pleased with the result, then he or she pays. To continue, they must sign on for an hourly rate, or some sort of package in which payment is assumed. At least, they would start off without any risk.

Now, some therapists and coaches offer free introductory sessions. The problem with this is that many clients take advantage of the opportunity when they have no intention of signing up for more sessions. I’ve made this kind of offer to my email list many times. It works. My biggest problem is that I get too many requests. The last time I put out such an offer, I got roughly 200 requests for free sessions. I don’t have a way to accommodate that many.

Suggesting that people will pay for the session if they think it’s valuable is a way, perhaps, to mitigate both of these issues. It might deter people who have no intention of ever paying for services. And it would still protect the rest from paying for something that they didn’t find very helpful.

Notes on how to proceed:

Be clear about what you can deliver. Is it a life-changing AHA moment? A shift in state to something much more resourceful? Is it more hope in general that problems can be solved?

Create a way to measure the result. A subjective scale could work. You are feeling hopeful, on a scale of 1-10….Measure the level at the start of the session, during, and toward the end. If they get to an “8” or above, then you’re successful. Something like that?

Deal with the resistance up front. For example: I want to make sure that knowing you’ll need to pay my fee if we’re successful doesn’t get in the way of our success. Are you OK pay the fee and allowing our session to be successful today?

Other notes:

Are practitioners who might offer this pay model just over confident or full of themselves? Or, could this be a genuinely compassionate way to work with people?

Why not give this model a test drive and see what comes of it? Seems like it could be done very respectfully.

What if the valuable insight only comes a few days after the session? An understanding would need to be created – based on the honor system – in which the client clicks a link to pay at that point. Of course, if he or she never pays, then the practitioner will never be available to meet again.

Up for it?

This is all just a brainstorm and could very well be a half-baked notion. I’ll think about it some more and might even test drive the offer to my mailing list. People on my mailing list are those who have watched this free video, which details the ins and outs of self-sabotage.

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Pay a Coach or Therapist by the RESULT?

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). Pay a Coach or Therapist by the RESULT?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Sep 2015
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